OAKLAND — There was irony in Messalonskee putting in extra work to secure its signature victory this season.

The Eagles needed double-overtime and a crucial effort from junior guard Sam Dube, who scored six of his 10 points after regulation expired, to post a 72-71 win over Cony in a Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class A game Thursday night. It was just the third win of the year for Messalonskee (3-8) and its first win over a team in the top six in the Class A North Heal point standings.

“That win was really key for us,” Dube said. “It was fun, really. It’s hard to battle, but it was a really fun game. I loved it.”

Down by a point with under 15 seconds to play, Dube drove baseline to the left of the hoop and found enough space to sink the Rams with a hard-earned bucket in traffic.

Senior Dan Parent led the Eagles with 20 points, while 6-9 sophomore Merrick Smith added 18. Parent and Smith combined for only four of the Eagles’ 11 extra-session points, as Dube turned up the wick.

“In those moments, he’s one of those guys that’s a mismatch for the other team,” Messalonskee coach Pete McLaughlin said of Dube. “He’s kind of a physical guard that can score in transition by going baseline. He’s taken that shot about a million times in practice, so our guys know it.


“He stepped up huge for our team.”

Cony (6-4) was led by Dom Napolitano’s 20-point night and got 18 and 17 from Parker Sergent and Kam Douin, respectively. But the Rams were also hindered by foul trouble with both Napolitano and Alex Fournier (six points) exiting before the final clock expired.

The loss was the third straight for the Rams following a 6-1 start to the season.

“When you’ve got Napolitano and Fournier out of the game — one’s an offensive scorer and the other does everything well — it definitely takes a toll on your team,” said Cony head coach Isaiah Brathwaite. “Other guys have to step up.”

Cony’s Kam Douin gets a hand up to defend Messalonskee sophomore guard Drake Brunelle uring a basketball game Thursday in Oakland. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Rams led by as many as six points early in the fourth quarter before Messalonskee closed regulation with points on five straight trips down the floor, having finally solved Cony’s full-court pressure.

Meanwhile, the visitors saw their 56-50 cushion vanish when held without a field goal for nearly four and a half minutes late in the final period.


“We just had to slow down and make smart decisions,” Dube said. “When we were rushing, that’s when we were turning the ball over. When we got in our rhythm and settled down, we handled the pressure pretty well.”

Dube’s baseline drive with 30 seconds left in the first overtime handed Messalonskee a 65-64 lead, but Drake Brunelle missed a pair of free throws and Sergent tied the game from the charity stripe for Cony with 9.4 seconds remaining.

The Eagles opened the second overtime with a 5-1 run to take a 70-67 lead. Three consecutive turnovers, however, set the stage for Sergent’s bank shot that gave Cony a 71-70 lead.
Dube, then, hit the game-winning shot with his patented baseline drive.

“The kid’s a veteran player and made a big-time play for his team,” Brathwaite said of Dube. “Hat’s off to him. I love the kid. I know him personally, so hat’s off to him.”

With two straight wins, Messalonskee hopes the second half of the season will be kinder than the first for a squad that dropped eight of its first nine contests.

“For the last five or six games, we’ve been knocking on the door,” McLaughlin said. “We’ve been on that cusp of what we potentially could be. … This excitement, this intensity (tonight), has to be what we want to be in every single time we step on the basketball court. We also know what that feels like and we have to execute in those moments at the same time.”

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